Evolution and systematics

The suborder Percoidei contains more than 70 families and 2,800 species. This chapter focuses on the following seven families: the grunters or tigerfishes (Terapontidae: 15 genera; 48 subspecies), the temperate basses and austral perches (Percichthyidae: 11 genera; 31 subspecies), the black-fishes (Gadopsidae: 1 genus; 2 subspecies), the pygmy perches (Nannopercidae: 3 genera; 6 subspecies), the Chilean perches (Percilidae: 1 genus; 2 subspecies), the kuhlias or flagtails (Kuhliidae: 2 genera; 10 subspecies), and the snooks and giant perches (Centropomidae: 4 genera; 23 subspecies). The Percichthyidae is a loosely organized family in need of revision. Previous authors have placed the Gadopsidae, Nannop-ercidae, and Percilidae within this family. These fishes are recognized in this chapter as separate from the percichthyids because of disparate fin counts or their unique patterns of endemism. The blackfishes and pygmy perches are endemic to Australia, while the Chilean perches are endemic to Chile in South America. This separation has been recognized in Allen et al. (2002), and in part in Froese and Pauly (2002). The families Percichthyidae, Gadopsidae, Nannopercidae, and Percilidae, all likely date from the Eocene period. The Centropomidae date from the Cretaceous period. Freshwater grunters date back to the late Cretaceous or early Tertiary periods. Allen et al. (2002) reported that a fossil terapontid unearthed in Queensland, Australia, was dated from the Oligocene, thus indicating that grunters had been present in Australia 30 million years ago. The history of the Kuhliidae is uncertain, but the family likely dates from the Eocene.

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